RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 review

£371
Price when reviewed

With every smartphone manufacturer under the sun scrambling to produce touchscreen devices it’s almost shocking to see a smartphone arrive without one. Along with a decent hardware keyboard, however, that’s precisely what most BlackBerry devotees demand, and in the Bold 9700 that’s exactly what RIM has delivered.

In line with previousBold and Curve handsets, the Bold is non-touchscreen. It boasts a hardware Qwerty keyboard that stretches the full width of the 60.5mm-wide chassis and curves gently along its length. As with the original Bold, the keys are all subtly shaped, sloping up to a point, which makes them easier to type on. And the rows of keys still have those attractive silver “frets” between them to space them out a little.

The major changes that RIM has made to the Bold are to its size and to the navigation control. The first is a potential stumbling block, for where the original measured a broad 66mm, the 9700 is half a centimetre narrower. On the plus side, this makes the phone feel much more pocketable than its porky forebear, and it looks nicer too: there’s lots of chrome trim to complement the smart black plastic and the leatherette on the rear is a more subtle touch than on the first Bold.

RIM BlackBerry Bold 9700 keyboard

Amazingly, in the slimming down process, the keyboard hasn’t lost too much. The keys still feel solid and responsive, and we were able to get up a decent turn of speed too. It’s very good for its size and far better than the keyboards on Nokia’s E71 or E75, but there’s no getting past those narrower dimensions. We were never quite as comfortable typing on it as we were with the original Bold.

We had no such reservation with the next big change – RIM’s replacement of the Bold’s clickable trackball with a touch-sensitive thumbpad. This sounds fiddly, but nothing could be further from the truth. Sweeping your digit across its surface to control the cursor feels absolutely natural and, as it has a flat surface, it’s a lot easier to click than the old trackball. The BlackBerry browser may still not be up to the quality of Android’s or Mobile Safari, but this change makes it a lot easier to control than before.

Details

Cheapest price on contract £0
Contract monthly charge £30.00
Contract period 24 months
Contract provider T-Mobile

Battery Life

Talk time, quoted 6hrs
Standby, quoted 17 days

Physical

Dimensions 60.5 x 14.5 x 108.5mm (WDH)
Weight 124g
Touchscreen no
Primary keyboard Physical

Core Specifications

ROM size 256MB
Camera megapixel rating 3.2mp
Front-facing camera? no
Video capture? yes

Display

Screen size 2.4in
Resolution 480 x 360

Other wireless standards

Bluetooth support yes
Integrated GPS yes

Software

OS family BlackBerry OS

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